Venezuela looks like continuing with President Nicolás Maduro’s rule, despite the best efforts of the United States to oust him and replace him with Juan Guaidó.
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans protested in the streets at the start of 2019, wanting to believe that things would finally change in the country as upstart opposition leader Guaidó rallied international support and promised a swift end to Maduro’s rule.
To many, Guaidó seemed different from the string of past opposition leaders who had challenged Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, over 20 years of increasingly authoritarian socialist rule.
The US and dozens of nations had thrown their support behind the youthful congressional leader, recognising him as the country’s legitimate president, arguing that Maduro’s re-election was invalidated by fraud and a ban on most opponents.
And there seemed to be signs that the military might heed Guaidó‘s repeated calls for soldiers to abandon Maduro. A few joined him in the streets in a quickly quelled uprising. The US and other nations sent caravans of aid to Venezuela’s borders to be distributed by Guaidó’s backers, and they were put in charge of many Venezuelan embassies and assets abroad.
Then February turned to March, and the months marched by. No international aid made it through Maduro’s blockade. The military stayed loyal. Even the nation’s catastrophic economy began to improve slightly. Maduro remains in power.
Many no longer answers the opposition leader’s call to protest, nor do most of the others who once filled the streets. Cracks have even appeared in Guaidó‘s base of support in the National Assembly, the only major institution controlled by the opposition. His re-election as congressional president is no longer assured, and legislators’ official terms expire in a few months.